Raise Gambia: Achievements so far

Science for Africa: The Gambia – a great experiment

Stage 1 In 2011, Science for Africa: The Gambia set up and equipped a dedicated laboratory on the campus of Sifoe Senior Secondary School.  

Photo: Experimenting with electrical circuits at a Teacher Development Workshop

Stage 2 Between 2011 – 2015, Science for Africa: The Gambia engaged and inspired over 140 science teachers from Upper Basic Schools and Senior Secondary Schools throughout the country at laboratory based workshops, benefitting thousands of students country-wide

Impact: Empowering teachers to use more practical work in their lessons has enabled students to become more actively involved in their learning.  Evidence shows that, since the instigation of the Teacher Development Workshops, results in external exams have improved. (see appendix 3).  This impact has been recognised by the Gambian Ministry of Education (see appendix 4)

Stage 3 Following the highly successful Teacher Development Workshops, Science for Africa: The Gambia extended its outreach: teachers and students from local schools were invited to visit the laboratory and use its facilities to enhance practical work in their science lessons. Since 2013, teachers from approximately 15 schools have visited the laboratory with their students, which means that over 200 students have had the opportunity to experience  practical science..

Photo: Local students engaged in Refraction of Light experiment



Stage 4 In 2016, with a small amount of funding from a few generous donors in the UK, Science for Africa: The Gambia was re-launched under its new name, Raising Aspirations in Science Education in the Gambia (RAISE Gambia)


The Laboratory Manager has remained in post, supported by funding from the project co-ordinators.  He has continued to work with local schools in the laboratory and facilitated further demand for Teacher Development Workshops, albeit at a reduced level.


Stage 5 In 2017, a further innovation was introduced when a group of Sixth Form science students from St John’s Academy in Marlborough, UK, visited the laboratory to participate in an exciting peer-to-peer project.


The UK students designed a series of simple experiments to teach to a group of younger students from Gunjur Upper Basic School.  In future visits to the laboratory, these Gambian students will teach their peers these same experiments.









Photo: UK and Gambian students working together

Impact

Over 20 Gambian students have had their first experience of ‘hands-on’ practical work;

8 UK students have enhanced their own understanding of basic scientific principles through teaching;

both groups of students have gained from the experience of communicating with peers from a completely different culture.

To participate in this innovative development of RAISE Gambia’s work, the UK students raised funds to supplement the cost of their visit and to support further school visits to the laboratory for Gambia’s young scientists.

The success of this initiative has been such that St John’s School will be returning with another, larger, group of students in October 2018.